Month: March 2019

The Veins that Stopped Growing

By Lucia Solorzano

I have dreams of my veins spreading out
like the vines on my garden wall

And my blood,  bringing life
like the ocean 20 miles south

My skin, the protector
like the air and the clouds

The hairs on my body to keep me warm
like the small spring grown sprouts

My braid that swings about
like the old moss licked tree
that grew with me

and it’s leaves that fell
like the trees that fell
like the chemicals that spewed and spilled
and the smog that clouded our judgement
and brought us downhill

and now the vines can’t grow
and the ocean can’t glow

with the life and the warmth
of the trees and the sprouts

and my garden wall
the vines stopped growing
and all we do is watch the leaves fall.

We Change the World!: A Celebration of International Women’s Day

By Brie Bristol

AMHERST – On Thursday, Mar. 7, the University of Massachusetts Amherst celebrated women around the world with an “International Women’s Day Celebration.” The event, coordinated by the Center for Women & Community, was held in New Africa House, with special food, speakers, and performances from 4 to 6 p.m.  

“It’s empowerment in a positive sense,” said Sarah Danforth, educator advocate for CWC, when discussing how the event brings connections between women through networking. She discussed that she’s attended the event to have first hand “meaningful work [to be] connected on this campus.”

Open to all, the event hosted around  60 persons, including women of all ethnicities, a few men, and even children – most took turns coloring in pictures of their favorite inspirational women, such as Frida Kahlo.

Children and adults were invited to draw inspirational women figures (Brie Bristol/Rebirth Project)

As several children ran around the room, local poet and educator Amina Jordan-Mendez performed three pieces expressing her femininity, family, and black girl joy. She believes that conversations with young people being silenced, and that her poems allow for her to speak for them. Jordan-Mendez continued to explain, after her performance, that the more we speak up and tear away from silence, the better society will be for women and for all.

Poet-performer Amina Jordan-Mendez recites one of her pieces (Brie Bristol/Rebirth Project)

As a slideshow played in the background, it laid out quick facts about the history of International Women’s Day – such as the celebration’s beginnings in 1910 on an international scale to support the movement for women’s rights.

A Colombian inspired dance group performs (Brie Bristol/Rebirth Project)

To close out the event, a Columbian inspired dance group swept the audience away with their flag-colored dresses and vibrant head pieces.

Hillary Johnson, a public health science student, felt that the event was a good showcase put on by CWC in anticipation of the century-old celebration on Mar. 8.

Comic book creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez talks about Afro-Latina superhero La Borinqueña and social change in Puerto Rico

By Steven Turner-Parker

On Friday, Mar. 1, the Latinx American Cultural Center hosted graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez for a talk about La Borinqueña, a comic book series he created that features one of the few Afro-Latina superheroes.

La Borinqueña stars Marisol Rios De La Luz, a Nuyorican (New York-born Puerto Rican) and Columbia University student who studies abroad for a semester at the University of Puerto Rico. While there, she explores the caves on the island and finds five crystals, all of which give La Luz individual powers such as superhuman strength, the power of flight, and control of the storms. With her newfound powers, La Luz adopts the superhero name La Borinquena, inspired by Puerto Rico’s national anthem, and works alongside the community to create social change.

As students walked into the LACC, they were greeted with a Puerto Rican flag and the alluring smell of Puerto Rican food prior to the talk. Later during his speech, Miranda-Rodriguez talked about the reasoning for hanging up the flag and serving food was to bring a home feeling to the event.

Continue reading “Comic book creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez talks about Afro-Latina superhero La Borinqueña and social change in Puerto Rico”

Thoughts from Fear and Curiosity: A Collection

By Nathalie Amazan

#1
Lately, presently feeling surreal
Something I am doing, or not?
How can I fix it, or not?
Is it the flower?
Is it the sleep?
Is it the isolation?
Are these explanations or the solution?
Interrogating myself, my care, my love
How do I relate
Or not?
Feeling my eyes lowering
tingling
forcing my body to relax, ease the tense of the day
or prepare for it
Take in the fatigue, the euphoria all at once
know that whatever you may call it
it is something felt
and that may be enough for now.


#2
Stop trying to write the universe.
Let the universe speak in all the ways
even the mundane can open up galaxies.


#3
The things we do not know are mysteries quite literally
If and only if one is in pursuit of Truth
If not,
Ignorance may very well be bliss but it will never fix the pain of tomorrow’s unknown
Or enjoy its beauty
I live to seek and I will surely find
Truth through the mysteries
and
Unfortunate events of life.

A poem by Nathalie Amazan. To see more, visit her blog: https://medium.com/@natamazan

GIRLS: Yung Baby Tate’s Anthem for Every Woman

Image result for yung baby tate girls

By Lucia Solorzano

Yung Baby Tate is an impressive rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Her newest album, GIRLS (released on Feb. 5), celebrates the different angles of her own womanhood and self in an empowering, fun, and expressive way. In her self-produced album, Yung Baby Tate’s sound is unique and bouncy, matching her vibrant and impeccable fashion style. The album features other talented rappers and singers including Bbymutha, Killumanti, Mulatto, Kari Faux, and Baby Rose.

Her sound and style is reminiscent of 90s video games, mixed with a dreamy feeling and bouncy beats. It sounds like glitter is sprinkled through every song. Her playful flow adds to this feeling along with her synthy beeps. Each song is a completely different mood, but are all tied together with her fun style.

The album cover is Yung Baby Tate in a silver leotard with women behind her in pink leotards, all standing on bleachers with their hands above their heads and eyes closed, in a majestic stance. This image represents a squad of girls who are practicing to perform for homecoming (as exemplified through her short film for the album). Each has a different personality and name which coincide with the album song titles.

Initially looking through the song names and album cover, one may assume it is solely about different types of girls: “New Girl,” “That Girl,” “Pretty Girl,” “Cozy Girl.” However, they simultaneously represent different girls and herself. The different girls and personalities are represented visually, through different models embodying the personalities on her Instagram posts and short film, while lyrically Yung Baby Tate is speaking in the first person throughout the album. The fluidity between and within women’s experiences is tied through this double representation.

This expression shows the different facets of her womanhood and experiences, including vulnerability, confidence, hurt, feeling herself, and being cozy. This is what really draws the listener in, because rather than expressing one consistent persona, it gives a glimpse into her layered personality, but is still easily relatable and empowering to others. The narrative of the album seems to represent not only herself, but collective experiences and moods that women (or anyone) can have.

As stated before, each song represents a different persona. They are confident, or confidently vulnerable, but each one embraces a different set of emotions. Discussing the different moods is empowering because Yung Baby Tate is not afraid to express emotions that many women get shamed for, such as being “too sexual” or being “too cocky”. She describes the different personas within the following Twitter thread:

This album is important because not only does it empower the cocky, confident, sexual, and vulnerable sides of Yung Baby Tate’s womanhood, it is also easily relatable for a wide variety of audience. The whole album is extremely emotive and evokes a feeling of walking on a cloud of confidence.

The album GIRLS by Yung Baby Tate is available on all streaming services